Like their only focus is getting you to pay for the boxes they drop at your back door?
If you do, you’re not the only one.
Many aged care facilities put up with low service levels and product-pushing from uncaring bulk suppliers.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to tolerate underservice.
There are chemicals, paper goods and PPE suppliers who will train your staff, fit in with your processes, and make timely calls at your site to keep equipment running well.
And if you did manage to find one of those special companies who are on the same wavelength as you – you’d keep good hold of them.
To help you identify which supplier to hang on to, here are some examples of:
- three basic services every consumables company should do for you,
- three only a few advanced suppliers in the marketplace will actually take care of,
- and two that are uniquely offered to Veridia’s contracted customers.
Three Basic Hygiene Consumables Services
1. Easy Access to Safety Data Sheets
When your staff use harsh cleaning chemicals, the first thing they need handy is a Safety Data Sheet (SDS).
Without the emergency handling instructions and warnings in an SDS, your staff could injure themselves or even put your vulnerable residents at risk.
So, in line with the SDS Code of Practice, safety data sheets should be ‘kept in a location near the work area’ where chemicals are dispensed.
You can expect suppliers to have up to date SDSs available on their website or purchasing portal – but busy nursing home workers need paper copies in the areas where they work.
A good supplier will provide hard copies to every area where chemicals are used, whether that’s the laundry, kitchen, or cleaners’ closet.
For extra convenience, Veridia provides file holders to hang on a nearby wall, for the papers to be safely stored and easily accessed.
2. Wall Signage Set Up to Instruct and Educate Staff
Safety data sheets cover emergencies, but staff handle hygiene consumables every day, so they need visual reminders.
Your back of house needs neat, readable signage on the walls next to equipment and in areas where products are commonly used.
Your suppliers should provide this signage. Examples could include:
- a reminder to wear PPE when cleaning crockery with caustic soda,
- an illustration of the most efficient way to load dishwashers, and
- a chart of colour coded chemical labels.
Instructional signage is critical for products that have an infection control or WHS risk when they’re not used correctly.
For example, Veridia provides an illustrated guide to correct donning and doffing of PPE for products like gowns, masks and gloves.
3. Equipment Installed and Connected
Suppliers of chemicals, hand care, paper goods, and PPE often recommend using their in-house equipment, as it works best to dispense their products.
When you sign a contract, the supplier should send technicians to your facility, to install every piece of equipment correctly, so the systems are ready for immediate use.
For example, on-premise laundry chemicals are usually dispensed through an automatic system connecting directly to the washing machines.
So, the supplier should install the dispensers and chemical bottle racks, connect the dispensers to each washer, and make sure the automatic disinfection process is working.
Veridia’s install team use an exhaustive checklist, covering items from drip trays and valves to chemical bottles and replacement caps, so they don’t miss anything that a facility will need.
Three Hygiene Consumables Services Only Advanced Suppliers Provide
1. Programming and reconnecting new equipment
Modern, well-run aged care facilities often benefit from updating their back-of-house systems to better meet resident needs and accreditation requirements.
Changes could include:
- Installing a new dishwasher,
- Optimising the on-premise laundry layout, or
- Updating the housekeeping chemicals system.
To update back-of-house equipment, you usually will need to modify connected chemical dispensing equipment.
Advanced hygiene consumables suppliers will proactively acquaint themselves with these changes and schedule a visit to reconnect and adapt the equipment as necessary.
For example, our laundry specialist recently visited a customer’s site to complete the following:
Visited site to install new on-premise laundry dispenser to new washer and reconnect existing on-premise laundry dispenser to washer that had been moved.
Reprogrammed washers with Veridia wash cycles. Installed new washer charts.
Tested all washers. Running correctly.
2. Regular Product Usage & Safety Training
If used incorrectly, hygiene consumables could cause health hazards in your facility. To keep your residents and staff safe from these hazards, your suppliers should have safety training programs available.
The quality and accessibility of these training programs tends to vary based on your supplier’s commitment to your facility.
Some companies send an expert trainer to coach groups through the essentials. A few progressive suppliers have also put this knowledge into useful, on-demand videos that staff can review as often as they need.
Veridia, for example, provides on-site training and online videos to teach chemical safety to facility staff, covering important information such as:
- Safety pre-requisites for working with chemicals
- How to read and interpret safety data sheets
- Details about personal protective equipment
- How to find information on Veridia’s product labels
- How to safely identify products in Veridia’s dispensing systems and bottles
Safety and usability are not only taught but built into our products, as this quote from our training program shows:
At Veridia, we don’t use fancy product names for the chemicals – we keep things simple and safe by calling each chemical exactly what it is.
The chemical named “Glass Cleaner” is for cleaning glass, windows & mirrors. The chemical named “Descaler” is for the process of descaling – removing calcium and scale build up.
We also provide an online quiz in each course that reinforces important definitions and safe chemical handling procedures.
Once a staff member has passed the quiz, they are provided with a chemical training certificate that can be used as assessment evidence for Aged Care Standard 7, section 3, part d.
3. Preventative Maintenance of Equipment
Performing hygiene equipment maintenance isn’t your staff’s priority – and it shouldn’t have to be their responsibility.
Equipment maintenance is more efficient and far safer when handled by service specialists.
Advanced hygiene consumables suppliers schedule regular site visits for preventative maintenance, so your staff can focus their time and energy on providing the best possible care for your residents.
For example, here’s an extract from records kept by one of our service personnel of the monthly service he provided for one of our customers:
Replaced all L23 chemical squeeze tubes in laundry chemical dispenser.16/08/2021
Replaced leaking tap to housekeeping chemical dispenser in special care on Level 1.13/09/2021
Replaced L30 chemical pick-up cap on washing machine 2.11/10/2021
These preventative maintenance services, often performed before there is a visible malfunction, eliminate a lot of machine downtime, allowing your back-of-house to continue operating as usual.
Of course, breakdowns and problems will still happen, due to a facility’s environment or to human error. In these cases, suppliers should provide urgent service visits free of charge.
Veridia’s Two Unique Hygiene Consumables Services
1. Replenishment management of all stock
Many aged care facilities have experienced unsteady supply, during or even before the pandemic.
Everyone’s familiar with stock shortages – empty PPE storerooms, ten-week supply lead times and tense phone calls with anyone who has stock.
Oversupply is also difficult, as facilities receiving bulk amounts from government stocks have realised. Having too much stock may seem like a blessing, but low quality and tough regulations on expiry dates can decrease its value.
Too much stock in storerooms contributes to inefficiencies, WHS issues and even fire danger, if the products are flammable.
Our replenishment management offering takes all of these issues into account. This means we proactively maintain supply based on our predictions of future usage.
Our calculations, fed by a decade of industry usage tracking, as well as specific site-based data, give us fast and accurate stock management signals. These stock predictions are backed by actual stock counts of every product, conducted by our service team on their fortnightly or monthly visits.
These physical stock counts prevent oversupply and shortages. They allow us to rapidly restock shelves and storage points when usage increases – during an outbreak or when PPE rules are changed.
We generate usage reports that further inform our predictions and are available for your use when preparing for audits.
2. Standards documentation for self assessments
Another key pain point we find in the aged care industry is the burden of paperwork for accreditation assessments. Staff can spend a lot of valuable time gathering evidence to use in self-assessments.
Our unique offering to solve this paperwork problem is to collect documentation ourselves, in collaboration with your floor staff.
This service (provided free of charge to those of Veridia’s contracted customers who are eligible) uses a templated document filled with evidence that’s gathered on your site. We collect documentation for applicable sections of Standards 3, 4, 5 and 7 – all the areas which our range applies to.
Our service team takes pictures of your product setups, wash stations, and other equipment and we insert them in the document where appropriate.
The self-assessment document also lists:
- examples of maintenance schedules, service reports, and visit records,
- a self-rating for each relevant outcome, and
- recommendations such as ‘install hand wash guides’ and ‘conduct additional laundry training’.
Make Sure You’re Getting the Best Hygiene Consumables Services
From the simplest safety data sheet to a full-scale Standards evidence document, hygiene consumables suppliers have a lot to offer. Real, tangible benefits can be achieved with the practical assistance of an expert supplier.
For example, a Director of Nursing said this about Veridia’s service:
There is no doubt in my mind that Veridia was very important in us getting through our accreditation.
Working with your hygiene consumables provider can deliver many efficiencies and fulfil the requirements of the aged care industry.
What extra services does your supplier provide?